Above: Delegates at the event in Lindelani with founder and chairperson of the LYF, Melusi Mhlaba
The Lindelani Youth Forum in partnership with the Democracy Development Program and Africa Unite hosted the 2nd Annual Lindelani Youth Empowerment Indaba on the 27th of February at Ntuzuma A Hall in Lindelani northern part of Durban. The indaba was attended by 75 young people from Lindelani and surrounding areas.
We had presentations from stakeholders but most importantly we targeted stakeholders that are affiliated with the government as we wanted to make sure that we are aware of their duties before we go into dialogues. Community Development worker who was representing the war room did a short presentation on what is a war room, why does it exist and what can we do as young people to benefit or to participate in it. Judging from the reaction in the house it was clear that we as young people do not pay too much attention to such structures, as a result, we do not know why they exist. Also, even the person who was doing the presentation did not seem to have enough information on what really is the war room. We also tried to give a councilors representative a short time to do a presentation but the audience did not want to hear anything about that office. They are just frustrated about how the office operates in terms of transparency and fairness amongst people in the ward,” said Melusi Mahlaba, Founder and Chairperson of the Lindelani Youth Forum.
he said that, they also had presentations from other stakeholders, just sharing their work and what do they offer for young people. “Through these presentations, there were leadership opportunities that came up and also people were more interested in Vodacom Next offers as they also had giveaways for people,” he said.
“We then went to dialogues, the audience was divided into groups and we discussions on understanding local government and what it should they do for every community, how to monitor (or keep track of) what local government is doing, coming up with what to do when local government ignores the community or breaks the rules, how to take action to enforce our rights to water, sanitation, electricity, housing, and health and also to find organizations that can help us hold the government accountable if they are not doing what they are supposed to do,” said Mahlaba.
He added that after the dialogue it was clear that the major problems including for government are huge service delivery and backlog challenges, particularly of housing, water, sanitation, and health. Poor communication with, and accountability to communities, corruption, and fraud, poor financial management, weak civil society formations, political in-fighting, lack of skills.
“We then asked participants to volunteer to the task team to work with the organization moving forward,” he added.